October 12, 2011

The dog walking me.

September in Europe was unseasonably warm and my brother asked if I would like to walk Athena in the Amsterdamse Bos, which I thought was a brilliant idea.
Little did I know. First off, Chris takes three strides and is immediately far in front of us. This is too much for Athena, who wants to join Indy, Chris' Border Collie, and pulls with all her might, fanning out in front of me from left to right and right to left. I can't change hands because I am carrying my handbag (pffft, handbags. Why do we bother anyway?). From time to time Chris turns round to check up on us and looks back in the most relaxed way. Surely he can see the grooves my heels are making, like plough furrows, as Athena pulls me along?
Then from a path on the right two horses, in a trot, cross our path. This time I really thought my face would be ploughing a furrow. Athena is not exactly used to horses so close by and in the quiet woods her bark is deafening.
After a while, I give up and just let her off her leash. She is far better off than on, and she makes a dash for Chris and Indy. Panting and heaving I join them, just in time to see Athena lower herself in a slootje (a ditch of murky and green water) for a drink. She is happy now, I know but the smell is awful.
Chris throws a ball for Indy, who is a 6 month old pup, and Athena, who runs like greased lightning, scoops it up first. Walks back to Chris, then walks away placing the ball just out of reach. As Chris walks up, Athena turns and scoops up the ball again. This happens several times. I hear my good-natured brother mutter, 'demon dog', under his breath and I understand, but if anyone thinks that dogs do not have a sense of humor then they should have seen Athena in action. Demon dog was having a ball in more ways than one.
I pick up Chinese food on my way back home, then feed Athena and walk to the big house to say hello to the family. I had put my scarf on top of the food because Athena seldom messes with my stuff. When I return, there is no damage other than clean food containers and a little plastic bag on the floor. My scarf is still in the bag but other than that it is empty. She must have hands when I am not around, because it was all so cleanly and perfectly executed that I could hardly believe it had happened at all. The only confirmation I got was the look of utter bliss on my dog's face. She clearly had had a perfect day.

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